Finding The Ionian Mode (major scale part 2)

Now we are going to use what we learned in the previous lesson and find the ionian mode in any key we choose. If you did not complete the previous lesson then turn around and go there. This one will not do you any good unless you have already learned and memorized the previous lesson.

The first thing we will need to do is to choose a key for our scale. For simplicity in the first example we will use the key of A. So we are going to go ahead and write down all of the chromatics in the key of A. This means we will write out all 12 notes starting with A all the way to the next A.

A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A

Now that we have our chromatics in the key of A, we will extract all of the major intervals from "key construction".

Finding The Ionian Mode Using Key Construction:

1. A
2. A#
3. B
4. C
5. C#
6. D
7. D#
8. E
9. F
10. F#
11. G
12. G#
1. A (octave)
Major Intervals

Major 2nd

Major 3rd
Perfect 4th

Perfect 5th

Major 6th

Major 7th
Ionian (key of A)






What we did here was to use all of the major intervals from key construction and applied them to an actual set of chromatics (key of A in this case). We could have used the chromatics in any key and this would still work the same. If our chromatics started with F and went to the next F at octave, the same intervals would have given us all the right notes for F ionian (major).

Again, since these are the steps key construction tells us we have to use to arrive at all the major intervals, we found this scale using this interval formula:

Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half

So by simply taking the chromatics in any key you choose and applying the W,W,H,W,W,W,H intervals you can find the major scale in any key. I would like you to try some on your own now and see how you do. I will give you the answers to a couple of them so that you can check your work. If you get both of these two correct on your own then your are doing it correctly and should be able to find all 12 without trouble.

F# Ionian: F#, G#, A#, B, C#, D#, F, F#
C Ionian: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

Once you have figured all this out we can go on to learning about the other modes. Make sure that you understand this and can find the scale successfully in any key. Check yourself by comparing your answers to the two I have posted above. Since there are only twelve different notes in all, there are only 12 possible ionian scales you could find. You should have no problem finding all of them using this technique.


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